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Order of the Cross of Liberty
Vapaudenristin ritarikunta
Vapaudenristin 1lk rintatähti mk.png
Order of the Cross of Liberty breast star with swords
Awarded by the President of Finland
Country  Finland
Type Order
Motto Isänmaan Puolesta
(Finnish: For the Fatherland)
Post-nominals Grand Cross: VR SR
1st Class: VR 1
2nd Class: VR 2
3rd Class VR 3
4th Class: VR 4
1st Class Medal: VM 1
2nd Class medal: VM 2
Established March 4, 1918
Next (higher) None
Next (lower) Order of the White Rose of Finland

The Order of the Cross of Liberty (Finnish language: Vapaudenristin ritarikunta

Swedish language
Frihetskorsets orden

) is one of three official orders in Finland, along with the Order of the White Rose of Finland and the Order of the Lion of Finland. The President of Finland is the Grand Master of the two orders, and usually of the Order of the Cross of Liberty as well, Grand Mastership of which is attached to the position of Commander-in-chief.[1] The orders are administered by boards consisting of a chancellor, a vice-chancellor and at least four members. The orders of the White Rose of Finland and the Lion of Finland have a joint board. The Order of the Cross of Liberty was founded on March 4, 1918, upon the initiative of General C.G. Mannerheim. The Finnish artist Akseli Gallen-Kallela was commissioned to design the Order's insignia with the swastika.

At its foundation there were seven classes: grand cross, cross of liberty (1st to 4th class) and the medal of liberty (1st and 2nd class). The decorations of the Order of the Cross of Liberty were initially conferred only in time of war. A decree was issued on 18 August 1944 enabling the decorations to be awarded in peacetime. The Cross of Liberty has a red ribbon when it is granted in wartime and a yellow ribbon when it is awarded in peacetime.

Decorations of the order were awarded in great numbers during the World War II, partly due to Marshal Mannerheim having issued an order that wounded soldiers were to be awarded for their sacrifice, and Finland has no separate decoration for wounded, Cross of Liberty is usually reserved for commissioned officers, with Medal of Liberty being awarded for soldiers of junior rank and NCOs.

Classes[edit | edit source]

The Presidential Standard of Finland has a Cross of Liberty, 3rd Class on its upper left corner

The classes of the Order of the Cross of Liberty, in descending order, are:

  • Grand Cross of the Order of the Cross of Liberty
  • Cross of Liberty, 1st Class with a grand star
  • Cross of Liberty, 1st Class
  • Cross of Liberty, 2nd Class
  • Cross of Liberty, 3rd Class
  • Cross of Liberty, 4th Class
  • Medal of Liberty, 1st Class
  • Medal for Merit, 1st Class
  • Medal of Liberty, 2nd Class
  • Medal for Merit, 2nd Class

Associated with the Order is the Mannerheim Cross, which is discussed in a separate article.

Mourning Cross

Other special decorations awarded during the Second World War include:

  • Medal of Liberty 1st Class on Rosette Ribbon (only awarded once, to Field Marshal Mannerheim)[2]
  • Gold Medal of Merit (only awarded once, to General Waldemar Erfurth, 13 June 1944)[3]
  • Cross of Mourning (Given to the nearest relative of a soldier killed in action)[4]
  • Medal of Mourning (Given to the nearest relative of a person killed in non-military duty of war industry or national defence.)[5]

Notable recipients[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

Tetri, Juha E: Kunniamerkkikirja. Ajatus, 1994. ISBN 951-9440-23-2. (Finnish)

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. http://www.vapaudenristinritarikunta.fi/pages/show/2
  2. Tetri 1994, p. 47.
  3. Tetri 1994, p. 47.
  4. Tetri 1994, p. 49.
  5. Tetri 1994, p. 49.

External links[edit | edit source]

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